This is a personal blog documenting my journey from California to rural Alabama. I am currently studying architecture and learning how to be a decent human at Rural Studio; a design/build architecture program with a strong focus on ethics and social responsibility.

Posts are my own and have no affiliation to the school. Enjoy!

Rural Studio | Week 6 Workshops Design Viability + Landscape

Rural Studio | Week 6 Workshops Design Viability + Landscape

Rural Studio | Week 6 |  September 23-28, 2019                                        Workshop .o7 Design + Viability | John Forney, architect                                   Workshop .o8 Context + Landscape | David Hill, architect , landscape architect


“The right side of the grass” - JP

Last week started with the sudden passing of Johnny Parker. To say those who knew Johnny are heartbroken is an understatement. Johnny was more than an integral part of the Studio, he was the living soul. Johnny was a man of few words, strong intuition and could literally build or fix anything. As the new kid, my interactions were short yet memorable. How lucky others were to know such a legend. The day before Johnny’s passing he called me Granny. Its a nick name I’ll sport proudly, old lady top bun and all.

Between tears, hugs and JP stories, we picked ourselves up and continued the week knowing this place was changed forever. Its what Johnny would want us to do. RIP JOHNNY PARKER xoxo


Our last week of workshops began with a two day dialogue regarding the 20K product line. John Forney forced us to think critically about pros and cons of previous 20K designs on an architectural and social level. In small teams we visited residents in their homes and intimately discussed likes, dislikes, daily use of spaces, expansion plans, aging etc. Considering most tenants have been living in their homes for 5-10+ years there was a lot of feedback. Mostly positive! Access to this information is invaluable and a large reason why Rural Studio has planted roots in one spot. How can an architect truly understand the longevity of a design if they split after the ribbon cutting?!

It was meaningful to see how student projects foster community and homeownership. This workshop was also about avoiding tunnel vision through understanding the complexities of a place; physical, social, historical and geographical. Sometimes the best solution is to not build anything at all. - JF

Later in the week we discussed all things green with David Hill and Emily Knox. Two admired landscape professors from Auburn University. We started by diving into forest layers from canopy, sub canopy, understory, shrub layer and ground plane, followed by branch and simple/compound leaf structures. From there we detailed a couple tree species- oak, pine, crepe myrtle- and designed iterations of landscape forms as a spatial experiment: grid, gaggle, hip hop, lone wolf. Those are all landscape terms fyi:) There was more to this workshop but I unfortunately missed the last day (and of course multiple axonometric drawings!) due to a trip back to CA.

Some other nonsense..

It was my week for morning farm duty with Farmer Eric. Every student works on the RS farm two mornings a month (some work more). 6am in the greenhouse is a beautiful way to start the day and involves a solid balance of hard work and real talk.

Our group helped with miscellaneous tasks at Horseshoe Farms Homes. This 3-unit complex will provide independent living for women within the community. The client, Project Horseshoe Farm, is a local non-profit tackling the mess in which we call healthcare with a truly holistic, boots on the ground approach. I can’t speak highly enough about the program or how badass (and needed!) these 3 units are going to be. The project opening is is a little over a month away- stay tuned.

I ended the week with a quick trip to California for my dear friends wedding. It was nice to let loose after the non stop month of workshops, see friends and dip in the Pacific. A week of loss and love. Grateful for the perspective.

- devin

Rural Studio | Week 7 + 8 Brief Project Intro

Rural Studio | Week 7 + 8 Brief Project Intro

Rural Studio | Week 5 Workshops Structural Exploration + Detailing Construction

Rural Studio | Week 5 Workshops Structural Exploration + Detailing Construction